Walking for weight loss: Does it have the legs?
Humans have been walking for over 2 million years and it has been our primary way to travel for most of our existence. Forward to the present and many people now lead a sedentary lifestyle, without the need to walk such long distances. We live busy lifestyles and don’t often take time to go for a long walk, like our ancestors did. That’s a whole lot of energy we are no longer using and ultimately, we are burning up much less calories on a daily basis. So, is walking good for weight loss and how does it compare to other exercises?
Walking Has Cardiovascular Benefits
Walking is a form of cardio, and for its health benefits, it all depends on the type of walking you’re doing and for how long. For example, if you are going to and from your office desk to the kitchen and that’s the extent of your walking, then you’re not likely to gain much from it. However, going for a walk on your lunch break or climbing up some nearby hills on the weekend can do a lot more. Walking at a brisk pace can get the heart pumping faster and harder, which is healthy for your heart to do on a regular basis. It’s good to aim for around 30 minutes of exercise a day, and that’s something you can do simply by walking. We recommend starting gently and building your way up to longer walks, increasing the pace slowly over time.
Walking Can Help with Weight Loss
Walking burns around 100 calories per mile which might surprise many people, in comparison, running burns almost exactly the same calories according to many sources. Of course, this is all relevant to weight, speed, metabolism and incline, the point being, there is not much difference between calories burned in running vs walking. If you have ever run 5k (kilometers), you will know how hard that can be, especially for someone starting for the first time. Walking 5k can easily be done during the day without even noticing the distance, and it is not uncommon to walk nearly 10k on a day out. If you don’t believe us, just try taking an exercise tracker with you and you would be surprised by the distance covered. This is great news as walking is low impact and you can burn off a large number of calories.
Helping The Muscles & Joints
As you get older, the muscles and joints in your body start to weaken. This is something we all must face, and the only way to help our muscles stay as strong as they can be is from exercise. Walking can help build muscle in the legs and will also improve your joints. When you are walking, you are moving most of your limbs, and the joints are going back and forth instead of staying still. Stiff joints are not something you want to have as you get older. Try to help your muscles and joints where you can by doing more walking. Compared to running, which is hard on the knees, walking is relatively safe and has much less impact on your joints than running on concrete. Give your muscles and joints a well-deserved rest by swapping the odd run for a walk and enjoy the beautiful views on your journey in your own time.
Is Walking Better Than Other Exercises?
Walking is an excellent exercise and comes with less injuries associated with running, weightlifting and HIIT (high intensity interval training). If you have trouble with injuries, we recommend walking with swimming, as both are low impact and work well in combination with each other. The best way to improve health, is to do a combination of exercises, such as high intensity training for cardio, and add some weightlifting to build muscle mass.
This is more effective for losing weight in the long run and has many more health benefits, plus it will help build a strong heart while strengthening the ligaments and can even increase bone density. Since we lose muscle mass as we age, it is important to maintain this as muscle mass is connected to our metabolism which effects how many calories we burn.
Other Ways To Help With Weight Loss
The biggest mistake people are making when trying to lose weight is to underestimate the diet. There seems to be a massive push to promote exercise with weight loss from the media and various weight loss programs. This makes no sense when crunching the numbers, calories burned from exercise are quite low, and so it is much easier to reduce calories from the diet. If we consider a hard gym session, or a 5-mile run at a steady pace, we will likely burn around 500 calories. It takes a lot less effort to make some changes to the diet and remove these 500 calories.
It is evident that some people who started an exercise program noticed that they gained weight. The reason behind this is because they are having a large meal post workout, a much larger meal than they normally would eat. The calories in the meal are higher than the calories burned form the workout.
The focus should be on diet for weight loss and that is the basis behind our unique AI Weight Loss Diet which will address nutritional deficiencies, which in turn will drastically reduce food cravings. We use AI (Artificial Intelligence) to create 8-day meal plans which adapt and change and are unique to every single person, while suggesting meals which are tasty, dense and contain less calories.